David Beckham said last night that he has parted company with his management company, SFX, and will be turning down new commercial offers to concentrate on football. SFX, however, said the news was a "surprise" to them and added that Beckham remains under contract.
Beckham made his announcement in a statement released on his behalf. "His contract [with SFX] was due for renewal," it said, "and he has decided with the European Championship and a busy year in Madrid he will be focusing entirely on football and not taking on any new commercial activity in the short term - except as part of his club commitments. He will continue to work with his current sponsors and Tony Stephens [his long-term agent, who remains an SFX employee] will continue to look after his football affairs."
Jon Holmes, SFX's chairman and chief executive, responded by saying he was "very surprised" to learn of the statement, given that Beckham remains under contract to SFX for the next two years. He added: "We are aware and recognise that David wants to cut down on the level of his commercial commitments and we support that view and we are actively helping him to achieve this.
"His future commercial activities are subject to agreement with Real Madrid but we are delighted that David has confirmed that he wishes to remain a football client of SFX, which continues to employ Tony Stephens."
The upshot is that Beckham will not eschew his current raft of commercial activities, rather not expand them for the time being unless they are part of his employment with Real. SFX has negotiated 10 commercial deals for Beckham over the last 12 months - with the likes of Pepsi, adidas, Marks & Spencer and Vodafone - worth more than £10m per year in total.